With all the talk about Tom Brady and Wes Welker, don’t be surprised if it’s the New England running game that wreaks havoc against the New York Jets in their divisional playoff game Sunday afternoon. So said NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan in his playoff chat on Friday.
“It has a great chance to be effective,” Kirwan said of the Patriots ground attack, “because the Jets will not be playing run defense. They will be worrying about Tom Brady and the passing attack. That said, the Patriots on first down are a very effective run team.”
Kirwan noted that the Patriots run the ball on first down 58 percent of the time. “The Jets will pay attention to that,” he said, “so I’m looking for some big runs on second down (when the Jets love to blitz).”
Even if the Jets blitz at the right time, that won’t guarantee success. Kirwan broke down the film this week, and it revealed that Brady threw a total of 41 third-down passes in two games this season against the Jets defense. The result: one sack. “And they blitzed a number of times,” Kirwan said. “The blitz did not get there.”
Kirwan’s pick for the game:
Patriots 28, Jets 21
For the complete chat transcript, click here.